US Didn’t See Egypt (Or Tunisia for That Matter) Coming

Obama Was Warned of Possible Instability But Not of Impending Revolution

Speaking to the Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday, CIA official Stephanie O’Sullivan said that President Obama had actually been brief about the “instability” in Egypt late last year, though they had no information that such a massive revolution would arise, nor what form it might take.

US officials had been similarly caught unawares by the Tunisian Revolution last month, giving rise to growing questions about the massive US intelligence community’s complete lack of intelligence related to what is becoming a region-altering popular uprising.

Publicly the White House is insisting that everything is fine and that nothing amounted to an “intelligence failure,” but private reports have President Obama “disappointed with the intelligence community” over the clear lack of predictions.

The massive surveillance of social media and record intelligence budgets have given rise to the belief that this sort of thing should have been predicted, but might speak not so much to officials’ lack of attention as their lack of understanding for the notion that average citizens are just generally unhappy to live under oppressive “president-for-life” dictators. This would explain not just the intelligence failures but the continued US funding for such regimes.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of